The city of Southampton makes for an ideal getaway for anyone looking to kick back and relax. With a history that goes back to the Stone Age, Southampton is the perfect place to explore the rich cultural heritage that characterises the south of England. Museums, art galleries, medieval walls and gates, vast expanses of greenery, and an attractive waterfront area are some of the things that you can expect to find in this delightful city. Read on for some inspiration on must-sees in and around Southampton.
Southampton’s waterfront and marina
Southampton’s port has been an active trading hub for over 2,000 years, and in fact, the development of Southampton as a city was closely linked to its port. Romans, Saxons, and Vikings traded from this harbour, which is also known for being the place where some of the world’s largest ships were built. The unfortunate passengers of the Titanic sailed from Southampton in a cold April morning in 1912. Today, visitors can learn more about the maritime history of the city at the SeaCity museum and by taking a walk along Southampton’s remodelled waterfront and marina. This area is also a great place to reward yourself with an evening drink after a day of sightseeing.
The Common is the green lung of the city, a huge 326-acre park where locals go for exercise, leisurely walks, and picnics. The Common is also home to one of the best-rated wildlife centres in the country, the Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre. Here, visitors can spot a wide range of species, including some protected ones, such as the greater crested newt.
Southampton has a vibrant cultural scene, and you only need to look at the long list of theatres and art galleries that dot the city to realise your options. Theatre plays are a popular stop for passengers who are booked on cruises from Southampton (like these offered by Royal Caribbean), who also take advantage of the special pre-theatre dinner menus offered by the charming restaurants of the city. You can keep an eye on the latest listings by visiting this site.
Around Southampton: The New Forest and Winchester
Although the city’s attractions are plentiful and enough to keep you entertained for days, do not pass on the opportunity to visit some key landmarks around Southampton too. The New Forest National Wildlife Park is a haven of natural beauty located just half an hour away from the city. The park covers an area of more than 200 square miles, and there is mile upon mile of walking trails, cycle paths, and magnificent woodland scenery that no visitor to Southampton should miss out on. Within the park boundaries you will also find many picturesque villages that are perfect for a lunch break, like Lyndhurst and Beaulieu.
For over 200 years, Winchester was the capital of England, and to this day there are many remains that bear witness to the importance that this city had in English history. With its interesting architecture, lovely parks and gardens, impressive cathedral, and former royal residences, Winchester is a great place to spend a day out. The city has also an impressive selection of bars, restaurants, and traditional pubs, as well as independent shops and an attractive festival calendar.